CUW’s sports and hospitality business students are exposed to experiential learning opportunities that help them create connections and get an inside look at careers in the field.
Students are selected by the department based on their involvement in local opportunities that arise. Experiences range from activation events, to galas, to the Super Bowl, and everything in between. The Concordia University Wisconsin Sports and Hospitality Business programs have made great relationships with companies such as Capture Sports and Entertainment, Team Lammi, and many other local organizations that put on events.
Impact on Students’ College Experience
The impact that this involvement has on college students is tremendous for those who take advantage of them. The opportunities are not only great learning experiences but they also look great on a résumé and can give you a one-up as an interview contender in the future.
CUW Senior Adam Kuglitsch said, “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these opportunities were not offered within the first three years of my time at CUW. Therefore, many of the different opportunities I got to interact and engage with fans was something that I did not take for granted… I learned a lot about what it takes to run an event to the scale of the Super Bowl, and it was one of the best experiences I have had during my time here at Concordia.”
It doesn’t just stop at an event. Lifelong connections are made that can repeatedly help students.
CUW Senior Mattson Wick said, “One of the best parts about being able to participate in the experiential learning opportunity was the ability to meet and network with industry professionals. The access to knowledge, advice, and feedback that I was able to gain was extremely helpful in understanding the industry better and determining my goals for my future career.”
Learning Through Opportunities
It is highly encouraged that students take these opportunities because there is so much to learn, and these experiences will be incredibly powerful down the road.
“Traveling across the country to meet new people and discover something completely unfamiliar taught me the value of trying something new even when it is scary,” said CUW Alum Megan Schmitz. “As a group we were taught the value of professionalism, hospitality, and service. The little things ultimately lead you on the path to doing the great things.”
The business world today is so everchanging with advancements in technology, the recent pandemic, and the upcoming generation. College students are not always looked at like they know what they are doing, but with these opportunities they have extra experiences and knowledge about things that most others don’t.
CUW Senior Brittany Davis said, “Because of how large of an event the Super Bowl was, I learned how difficult it is being a young professional in the Sport and Hospitality industry. Many associate age with experience, which is true sometimes, but not always. Realizing I can be a force with the knowledge and experience I have had been the biggest blessing in proving those who underestimate the younger generation wrong.”
Advice Students Would Give
Students come back from these occasions with advice to give to others that are offered to go in the future. “Soak it all in. Wake up each day with an attitude of being ready to learn and listen. Be grateful for the opportunity. Not everything will go just as planned so adapt quickly and move on from mistakes quickly,” said Schmitz.
Since these opportunities are used to learn and grow personally and professionally, the work is not always going to be as glamorous as it may seem.
“Put your best feet forward. There are always jobs that no one wants to do, if you are asked to do it, take it, and make the most of it. There are going to be times that you question why you are in this position, push through, and remember that the fans will thank you for it later. Everyone is always watching and if you do what is asked of you, people will be impressed and want you to work for them in the future. Be grateful to be there and make the most of the opportunities given to you,” said Kuglitsch.
—Morgan Bolz is writer for The Beacon, the official student newspaper of Concordia University Wisconsin. She is pursuing her degree in Sport and Entertainment Business and plans to graduate in 2023.